Home News Felony charges for Lejeune Marine family after 45 animals seized

Felony charges for Lejeune Marine family after 45 animals seized

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Samantha Wesche and Damien Irvin
Samantha Wesche (left) and LCpl Damien Irvin (right)

JACKSONVILLE — In a bizarre cruelty case earlier this week, two dead kittens were discovered inside the freezer of young, married couple who were arrested Friday after an anonymous call of possible cruelty led to the seizure of 45 .

Damien Irvin, 21, of Shelby and wife Samantha Wesche, 19, of Phoenix, Arizona each face two felony counts of killing an by and 45 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to after county officials say they found 45 — three of them dead — in the couple’s home.

Irvin works as 3521 Motor Transport Mechanic aboard Camp , according to a Facebook profile in his name.

Irvin and Wesche were married on Dec. 27, 2016, in Onslow County, according to the Onslow County Register of Deeds.

The home in which they live was built in 2010 and is owned by a couple residing in Williamsburg, Virginia, according to the Onslow County Tax Office.

control officers with Onslow County Services responded to 128 Forbes Estate Drive in the Southwest area on May 15 after OCAS received a phone tip.

The officers met the anonymous caller, who had been inside the house recently, at the Irvin residence and were met with “a strong odor coming from within the residence,” according to information in a county press release.

A search warrant was obtained later that day and OCAS and the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office entered the home.

Officers found a dead dog after walking inside; another dog found in convulsions was “euthanized at the scene.” Two dead kittens were found inside a freezer.

A total of 45 were removed from the 1,175-square-foot property: 31 dogs (2 dead), 13 cats/kittens (2 dead) and one pig.

OCAS learned the residents and owners of the had been out of town since May 6, and the were not seized until May 15.

According to warrant information, the couple failed to provide adequate water to the .

“The residence did not have a properly functioning air conditioner at the time entry was made,” OCAS Director Howard Martin said in a statement. “Our officers found all , including the pig, in pet crate without proper food and water supplies. Several of the cats’ crates were found inside a bathroom and closets.”

Irvin and Wesche were arrested May 19 by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and charged with two felony counts of cruelty to and 45 misdemeanor counts of mistreatment of .

The couple has since bonded out and are not in custody, although additional charges are pending in connection with this case, according to the county. Irvin and Wesche’s bond was set at $5,000 each.

The that were rescued from the home are in the care of OCAS and are not available for adoption at this time, according to the press release.

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